When I started this blog nine years ago, I thought it was just going to be a place to share a few pretty photos and chat about life. I did not know that because of the blog I’d soon be becoming an entrepreneur.
Let me start that again.
Last week I was asked the question “How do you enjoy being an ‘older entrepreneur’? It was an unexpected enquiry and for a while I fumbled my reply, then I said, “actually I think the intent is more important than the age, so if you don’t mind I’d prefer to tell you how it feels to be an ‘accidental entrepreneur’.”
They laughed politely and said that actually they really wanted to know about the age thing, so I ended up giving them both. Because both elements are very real to me right now.
I never thought in a million years that my first blogpost would lead to a little business with a small, and wonderful, team multi-tasking alongside me.
It all came at the right point in my life, when my children were leaving the nest and I was desperately in need of something to keep me busy and creative. Because make no mistake, building a business is a very creative activity. It is full of steep learning curves, of thinking outside the box, of keeping up with trends and permanently adapting to new circumstances.
For the past nine and a half years I have worked full-time and pretty hard . I have met the most amazing people, and I’ve been lucky to see doors open for me. Each new stage in the blog/business has grown organically. The books, the social media, then the tours, subscription box and magazine. They all came about because the demand was clearly expressed, and I simply replied to that demand.
I have no training in business, and every new step we take requires a ton of research and learning, but I’m not complaining. It is a lot of work, but it is fascinating. My business is my new baby, and I would defend it to the last! I know how lucky I am to be able to jump out of bed each morning excited about the day ahead.
So that’s the accidental entrepreneur aspect, but of course what those journalists really wanted to hear about was the age thing. In fact they asked some very specific questions: Are you generally the oldest in the room? well yes! Are you older than your team? euh, yes, a lot!; than your banker? yep!; the accountant? yep!; your lawyer? yes again!; how about your suppliers? yes nearly always!
And how does that make me feel? …. Let’s just say I have got used to it. And I love a challenge. Now and again, when heading into a meeting with someone new, I’ll take a deep breath and try not to see the surprise on their face as they understand that this ‘startup’ is being run by a woman who is fast approaching the traditional ‘retirement’ age. I always dress carefully, and of course I’m always well prepped for any questions. I know my business inside out, so it’s pretty easy to hold my own in any discussions.
And if ever the going gets tough, and someone tries to make me feel inadequate (because that happens too) I have an easy fix. I simply smile, and quietly remind myself that my social media figures are way better than theirs!! Small victories should never be under-estimated!
And how about you? I’d love to hear your story too. I know that very many of you have a tale of reinvention, which could be as an entrepreneur, or simply a new direction in life. How do you feel about where you are today, and is the age thing an item for you too? Do tell me, I’d love to know.